Public Pays Tribute to Airman

The Michiana community paid tribute to a fallen soldier Wednesday afternoon.

Hundreds gathered at Clay United Methodist Church in South Bend for Tech. Sergeant Ryan Balmer's visitation.

The 33 year old Mishawaka native was killed by a roadside bomb last Tuesday in Iraq.

He is a 1992 graduate from Mishawaka High School.

Friends and family members stopped by to show support for the Balmers.

"They are good people and they deserve it. God bless, Ryan and the people who do defend our country. They need our support," says Ryan’s old kindergarten teacher Patty Pullum.

"It's not over. Tomorrow is probably going to be harder and knowing when I got commissioned, he gave me my first salute and tomorrow, I'm going to give him his last... How do -- I owe this uniform to him and I wouldn't be wearing this uniform, if it wasn't for him," says Ryan’s cousin and fellow airman Captain Andy Deacon.

Family members say they are trying to arrange a military fly-over during tomorrow's funeral.

A 21 gun salute is planned.

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